How To Choose An Experienced Underground Utility Locator

Experienced underground utility locator

Establishing the location of underground utilities during excavation is not just recommended, it’s a regulation set by the WA Government. Regulation 3.21 of the Occupational Safety and Health Regulations requires the location of certain underground services to be established before work commences. Especially when there is any risk that the excavation work may interfere with these utilities or services.

So, once you’ve established that an underground scan must be carried out, the next step is to choose an experienced underground utility locator. Naturally, when you’re researching companies, you’ll look at a list of their previous and current clients. Have they worked with prominent or government organisations and what was the result?

Next, you’ll want to know that the company can handle the size of the job you’re proposing. Not only will they need all the latest technology and tools, but also the right technicians to operate it. When dealing with underground utilities, you can’t rely on the equipment alone – an experienced operator is an essential part of the process. Both for speed and accuracy.

That’s just the start. Let’s look at what else you need to consider before you bring in an underground utility locator.

Choose A Utility Locator That Values Safety First

Safe excavation around underground utility

Safety should always be the first priority on any site. Make sure you choose a sub-surface utility locating company that is fully accredited and has a long history of safety. Remember, maintaining a safe worksite often comes down to prevention. There are two important factors that help prevent accidents happening:


Having one point of contact can help eliminate misunderstandings. If you choose a company like Abaxa, you’ll be assigned a damage prevention technician. This technician will have years of utility experience behind them, as well as all the necessary accreditations. 


Having someone on site who is highly experienced in their role makes all the difference. Not only will they ensure that a thorough scan of underground utilities is carried out and correctly mapped, but they’ll also be able to spot potential accidents occurring. Quite often, utility prints are not up to date and only an experienced eye will notice when something is out of place.

A Utility Locator Can Cut Project Costs

Detecting underground utilities

Any worksite can experience cost blowouts. When a site is closed down due to an accident, lengthy delays usually follow – this is when costs start to skyrocket. 

Rather than trying to contact the various utility companies and rectify the situation, your assigned technician will deal with the issue a lot more efficiently.

The key to reducing project costs is, of course, preventing any delays. You can eliminate time and project delays by utilizing Abaxa’s subsurface utility service to Quality Level A. 

This service will allow your utility locator to detect a range of underground utilities and materials including:

  • Copper and Aluminium Wires
  • Fibre Optic Cable
  • Steel, Cast Iron, Clay and Concrete Pipe
  • Reinforced Concrete Pipe
  • Polyethylene, Polyvinyl Chloride and Cross-linked Polyethylene Pipe

Having a strategy that reduces the level of risk and eliminates the chance of damage or injuries will allow your project to run on time and on budget.

Avoiding Utility Damage Through Risk Management

Mapping of underground utilities

Every construction or excavation project is unique. That’s why risk management should be a customised approach. The risk for potential damage during excavation can be broken up into three broad categories – high, medium and low risk. 

Which category your project falls into all depends on the level of service you employ. For example, if you were to rely on existing authority plans or only carry out a visual scan for utilities, your potential for damage would be high risk. On the other hand, a complete four step subsurface utility clearance from an experienced company using accredited utility locators would put your project in the low-risk level.

Abaxa calls this their ‘3 Degrees of Safety System’.

If you want to minimise risk on your excavation project, talk to the team at Abaxa. For over 30 years, Abaxa has been helping businesses improve safety and increase productivity on the worksite.

To book or schedule a project discovery meeting, contact Abaxa or call 1300 369 642.

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